Parkes Musical & Dramatic Society

Little Theatre - Big Entertainment

History Part 9 - The Sixties Continue

Pt9 Patricia MitchellThe highlight of 1964 was the ten year revival of the musical The Desert Song, at the Orange Hall which starred Pat Mitchell and Reg Byrne with Direction by Zillah Grinter and Musical Direction by Joan Tucker. The large cast included well known locals, Mary Pearce, Betty Spicer, Bert Lister, Barton Prior and Cliff Cowell who also helped with the lighting and electrics, while the eight piece orchestra included Margaret Cowell playing the piano, a job she undertook for the Society on many occasions.


Pt9 Peter CassellAt the annual meeting in February, John Howell assumed the Presidency. From all accounts he was quite a character, nicknamed Chook, playing the double bass as well as appearing in Revues. Michael Parkins took over the chair the next year and was to serve two years 1965-66. In June” Why Not Tonight” was Staged but unfortunately we have no programme for reference. After that, a new member Terry Riles produced the Steinbeck drama “Of Mice and Men” in July. Malcolm O’Malley, another well known local appeared in this and many other productions. This was followed in September with “Revue 65” and two one act plays, “Castle in the Village” and “Mr Temlow is not Himself” in December to finish the year.

Society records show an absence of any production in 1966 which seems strange, so if any of the Parkes Community can provide information it would be much appreciated.

Pt9 Terry RilesThe next year, 1967, saw Les Fellows take over from Michael Parkins and athough it was also a fairly quiet year there was one major production. Les and his wife Jean were strong supporters of the Society over quite a few years until they moved away. The Society did produce the musical “Calamity Jane”, directed by Terry Riles with Calamity played by Betty Spicer and Barton Prior as Bill. Two local idendities made an appearance on stage, David White as Lieut.Danny Gilmartin and Laurie Pittis as Francis Fryer, who was to appear in future productions.

Ken Brokenshire, who was Deputy Principal at Parkes High, had been participating in the Society for a few years and took over the helm as President in 1968, he was later made a Life Member. Ken returned to the stage in the musical, “Pajama Game” later that year before transferring to Forbes High as Principal.
Terry Riles took on the mammoth task of directing “West Side Story” in August of that year playing one of the leads, Tony. Joan Tucker who was Musical Director had been one of the main driving forces over many years and was made a Life Member when she retired. Other main roles were played by Pat Mitchell as Maria, Peter Cassell as Riff, Rosemary Alway as Anita and Michael Newell as Bernardo. It was large cast of twenty three with notable locals, Bob Aitken and Ron Smith past President of Trundle M & D Society, taking part.

As mentioned the final musical for the year was the light hearted, foot tapping, “Pajama Game” with leading roles played by Betty Spicer, Bob Aitken, Greg Louttit, Ken Brokenshire and Jim Powter.

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